By Gari Voss
It was a full house at the Griswold Auditorium on Saturday evening August 19, 2023! The Save Lake Allegan committee invited Ryan Hurd to headline an evening of music that also featured Aaron Eshuis, Joey Hyde, and Carter Faith. The sounds of Nashville, Tennessee rose to the rafters as these singers, songwriters, producers, musicians shared their favorite songs with an enthusiastic audience.
“I have never witnessed anything quite like this,” shared Parker Johnson, Allegan’s Downtown Manager & Assistant to the City Manager. “The house was full, the Lounge busy with refreshments and auction bidders, and the music fantastic.” And he agreed with others that Ryan Hurd fans are LOUD!
As photographer Jim Kauppi explained, “All performances were good, but Ryan Hurd super, as attested by his draw. He has refined his gifts. His story telling is genuine, connection with audience and voice exceptional. He’s super photogenic.”
Coco Soodek, president of the Save Lake Allegan group, felt the evening was a tremendous event. “Ryan Hurd and all the artists played for 3 hours to a sold-out and raucous crowd. It was a remarkable experience to see 6 singer-songwriter-musicians from Nashville come to play in Michigan. But, without a doubt, Ryan Hurd is a true superstar and a first-class musician. Ryan’s fans are so devoted that we had people from Canada, California, Illinois, Florida and of course Michigan.”
Soodek felt that the audience demonstrated “united and passionate” support for the efforts of all relevant stakeholders to aggressively persuade Consumers Energy to keep the Calkins Bridge Dam that forms Lake Allegan.
“Special thanks to Amy Bratten, who was the brains behind the event,” stated Soodek. “And to Tim Miller, Carol Doeringer, Joann Chaney, and Angie Parsons for running the auction, communications, merchandise and all the rest. In addition, the merchandise, designed by local graphic designer Kristen Clignet, were a big hit.”
The City of Allegan was given kudos. “Ryan Burza, Parker Johnson and, of course, Joel Dye, are so good at what they do, that the night ran flawlessly. It definitely demonstrated that the city and the Griswold can be a draw for all kinds of entertainment, particularly when construction is done, and Allegan can take its place as the model of a lively small town,” added Soodek. “It was great to see the new restaurant Tilt 118 behind concessions. This has become a popular spot among residents on the lake.”
Johnson shared, “Downtown Allegan volunteers worked the main and upper level bars for the event – funds raised [from refreshments] will be used to continue to provide quality, family-friendly entertainment in Downtown Allegan like Bridgefest, July 3 Jubilee, and NYE! New Year’s Eve celebration.”
Proceeds from the concert admissions and the auction will be used to “access the legal and other technical resources” required as Save Lake Allegan continues to gather research presented to Consumers Energy.
NOTE: Consumers Energy announced that it will host a meeting on Tuesday, August 29, 2023, at the Allegan High School Performing Arts Center, 1560 M-40, Allegan. Doors will open at 5:30pm and the meeting will begin at 6pm. This is a follow-up to answer questions regarding Calkins Bridge Dam, and its decision to hire Public Sector Consultants, a non-partisan research group, to do an extensive investigation into the future of the dams that will reach the end of their current licensure.